Foxborough, MA (SportsNetwork.com) - Real Salt Lake hits the road to tangle with the New England Revolution on Saturday at Gillette Stadium with RSL aiming to bounce back from its first defeat of the season.
Salt Lake began the campaign on a five-match unbeaten run, but sustained a 1-0 defeat at Vancouver Whitecaps FC last time out as Darren Mattocks scored 10 minutes from time shortly after RSL's Sebastian Saucedo was sent off.
The defeat also marked the second straight match for RSL without scoring a goal, and head coach Jeff Cassar is well aware of what his team must do to improve in front of the net.
"We have to give [Alvaro Saborio] service. We have to be willing to get forward and not just take chances, but get ourselves in those positions, and then when we have the players in the positions, rewarding them with the ball," Cassar said of what RSL can do to improve its scoring record. "We did that at times, but we need to do it more."
With last season's leading scorer, Joao Plata, out because of injury, Saborio is certainly RSL's top scoring threat. However, he has managed just one goal in five games, which must improve for RSL to continue collecting points.
Cassar's attack must improve, but the coach will also be concerned about a shortage of defenders on Saturday as he will be without his two first-choice center backs.
Chris Schuler has been ruled out for the next 4-6 weeks after undergoing surgery to repair a torn meniscus, while Jamison Olave is out through suspension after receiving a second yellow card in the final minute of the loss to the Whitecaps.
New England comes into the game on the other end of the spectrum having extended its unbeaten streak to five games following a 2-1 comeback win at Philadelphia.
The Revs went down 1-0 to a free kick from Cristian Maidana, but got a huge boost from substitute Teal Bunbury, who set up the equalizing goal for Charlie Davies before netting the winner in the 76th.
Davies believes that he and Bunbury have built a good chemistry up top, and feels as though it could be the start of some big things going forward for New England.
"We have such a good chemistry going," Davies said of his relationship with Bunbury. "He's a player that can read exactly where I want to be and I think that kind of happens off the field as well. Our friendship and our bond is so close and it's developed into a great friendship. And I think that kind of is helping our chemistry on the field and it definitely showed on that first goal."
Things seem to be coming together nicely for the Revs all over the field as the club's unbeaten streak followed back-to-back defeats to start the campaign.